Providence, R.I., –The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER), the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, and SmartPower today announced the results of their Fall 2015 Solarize Rhode Island campaign across the communities of Barrington, Foster, Newport, Middletown, Portsmouth, and South Kingstown. The successful 14-week program, which ended on February 15, resulted in 250 solar contracts being signed by local residents and businesses totaling more than 1,700 kW of new clean energy capacity.
"Increased adoption of clean energy solutions offers homes, businesses, and the public sector the opportunity to support local job growth, reduce energy costs and protect our environment," Governor Gina M. Raimondo said. "The continued success of this community-driven program is one of many programs and initiatives now underway to expand economic growth in our clean energy industries, while stabilizing energy prices and shrinking our collective carbon footprint."
Solarize Rhode Island seeks to increase the adoption of small-scale solar electricity in participating communities through a competitive tiered pricing structure that increases the savings for everyone as more homeowners sign contracts. Now in its third year, Solarize Rhode Island has resulted in nearly 390 residents and business owners signing contracts for small-scale solar electricity systems, while educating hundreds more about the economic and environmental benefits of solar electricity, energy efficiency and other clean energy technologies.
"Community-based adoption of solar energy presents tangible energy, economic, and environmental benefits for Rhode Islanders and the cities and towns in which they live," said State Energy Commissioner Marion Gold. "Solarize Rhode Island is helping local residents and businesses reduce their net energy consumption from the grid, while supporting new investment and job growth opportunities for our local clean energy economy."
Along with the Towns of Barrington, Foster, and South Kingstown, the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission submitted a joint application on behalf of Middletown, Newport and Portsmouth to participate in Solarize Rhode Island's Fall 2015 campaign. Community interest in solar energy was significant, with 1,300 residents registering for more information about solar for their homes. Of this number, 676 residents received in-home solar assessments from the pre-selected solar installer working with their municipality.
"Once again, the success of Solarize RI is showing how we can both build a more sustainable Rhode Island while at the same time lowering energy costs for homeowners and small businesses," said Darin Early, President of the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation. "This represents not only a new opportunity for green business in the state, but also frees up resources that can be deployed to foster economic growth and job creation in Rhode Island."
"Solar just makes sense for Rhode Island," said SmartPower President Brian F. Keane. "And Rhode Island residents and communities are leading the way with Solarize Rhode Island. We're showing our friends and neighbors – indeed New England and the nation -- that together, solar is simple and affordable."
Solarize Rhode Island and its community-centric model will be expanded in the coming months. A new application round for interested municipalities is already underway, and community selections will be announced on March 15.
For more information on the Solarize Rhode Island program, please contact Shauna Beland of the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources at (401) 574-9111.
About Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources - The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) is the lead state agency on energy policy and programs. OER's mission is to lead Rhode Island to a secure, cost-effective, and sustainable energy future. OER works closely with private and public stakeholders to increase the reliability and security of our energy supply, reduce energy costs and mitigate price volatility, and improve environmental quality. www.energy.ri.gov.
About Rhode Island Commerce Corporation - The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation is the official economic development organization for the state of Rhode Island. The Commerce Corporation's mission is to work with public, private and non-profit partners to create the conditions for businesses in all sectors to thrive and to improve the quality of life for our citizens by promoting the state's long-term economic health and prosperity. The corporation manages the state's Renewable Energy Fund, which provides grants and loans for renewable energy projects with the potential to make electricity in a cleaner, more sustainable manner, while stimulating job growth in the green technology and energy sectors of Rhode Island's economy. www.commerceri.com.
About SmartPower - SmartPower is the nation's leading non-profit social marketing firm dedicated to promoting clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Named the "Best Non-profit Marketing Firm in the US," SmartPower's mission is to help Americans make smart energy choices by creating on-the-ground campaigns that engage the public and generate measurable energy actions. www.smartpower.org.